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Posted: 3/29/2006 10:36:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 10:38:24 AM EDT by gus]
Pertaining to a piece of equipment I might buy - a used John Deere F910 front mower.

The one in question has a 20hp 2cyl Onan engine, 60" deck, and has roughly 1200 hours on it. It runs great, doesn't smoke, and is in fairly good shape for a 1988 model. I can get it for around $1500. It looks like it was stored outdoors for at least part of its life based on the condition of the seat. There is a little rust starting on the deck, not a lot though. It would be no problem to stop the rust and repaint it next winter. It's located not far from my house, so that's a plus too.

I'm thinking of buying it for use on my 3 acre lawn, not in a business. I usually buy used homeowner grade mowers, for a lot less than $1500, but I want to decrease the amount of time I spend riding around the yard.

My question is are there any known problems with this kind of mower? I figure if it's a commercial grade mower, I probably won't ever wear it out (I take good care of my stuff), and it will certainly be a faster mower than my old 38" Craftsman 12hp POS. Anything I should check? Is it a good buy at the price?

Should I just buy another $500 POS that will last a couple of years and continue spending 3 hours a week mowing?

Thanks in advance.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 11:29:23 AM EDT
Most of the big lawn mowers today have either Kohler or Kawasaki engines, you don't see many Onans at least that was when my BIL had a lawn mowing business a couple of years ago.

$1500 sounds a bit high for a *18* year old mower. Watch out, that might not be the original hour meter and/or it could have been disconnected or somesuch. In other words, it might have a helluva lot more than just 1200 hours on it.

When buying anything used, I first try to find out what that model sells for now. In this case more than likely that model does not exist anymore, so try to find the nearest equivalent new and see what they sell for. Discount accordingly.

I would think you can find something a lot newer and more modern for less money, IMHO. Just a guess.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 11:34:41 AM EDT
Sounds high to me for something so old. You can buy a 56 to 52" new lawnmower at Home Depot for around that price.
Link Posted: 3/29/2006 1:24:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/29/2006 2:29:46 PM EDT by gus]
Well, for perspective, this mower weighs 1700 lbs. One thing that is a slight issue is the amount of garage space it would take up. It's extremely heavy duty, and I did get to see it run, cut, etc., and got a test drive. The deck on this puppy is as thick as the frame rails on the typical lawn tractor, including Deeres. Just looking at it you can see that it will still be around for many more years. And judging from things like pedal pad wear, tire wear, and general condition, I can believe 1200 hours. The seller is a local farmer, original owner, and only used it on his 5 acres or so of mowed yard. Actually the seller is his son - the owner recently passed.

Checking around on the net, I see several with 3000+ hours for sale for well over $2000, some as high as $5k (but they're really pretty).

I'm mostly concerned whether this particular model is known for any problems.


ETA: Here's a pic of an identical mower (except this one's a 1987) that is on the net for $4700 (definately way high). They sold new for around $10k, and the current similar model is wayyyy higher. The one I'm looking at is in similar condition, except some slight paint fading and the seat is in bad shape. Note how much taller it is than the lawn tractor it's next to.

Link Posted: 3/30/2006 4:33:18 AM EDT
Is this mower hydrostatic? Considering the age, I doubt it, but correct me if I am wrong. If it is hydrostatic, what is the condition of the pump, hoses, etc.? Has it been serviced regularly and correctly? Any maintanance records on it?

What would a *comparable* *current* mower from Deere run you today, new?

Pedal and tire wear are not great indicators of true age/life. They can be replaced very easily. Hour meters can be replaced and/or disconnected as well. I own heavy construction equipment and can vouch for that as they have hourmeters not odometers.

Find out what these units are *selling* for, not just asking for on the net. A lot of times there is a huge difference.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 4:37:55 AM EDT
If the mower was used by a commercial mowing operation, walk away from it. Despite it's looks, and current state of repair/disrepair, you WILL have very costly problems VERY soon. Bite the boolit and get a NEW mower with a warranty.
Link Posted: 3/30/2006 7:00:47 AM EDT
I've decided to pass on it. I'll milk one more year out of my "trusty" Craftsman 38" 12hp and look around this fall for a replacement. I don't doubt that mower would have served me well, it's just too damn big! A smaller version of the same thing, or maybe a ZTR type mower would be ideal for me. It'll have to wait though - I'm spending the money on a new fridge and stuff for the house instead.
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